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Match Report Stockbridge vs Verwood Town 7-Apr-2012


Having secured promotion to the Wessex Premier League the previous weekend Verwood headed to Hampshire for the first of two Easter matches looking to secure the first of three victories in their remaining games to guarantee the title. Jack Satterley returned from a hamstring injury and this meant a slight reshuffle which saw Dave Wrixton move to the middle of the park and John Webb to the bench. Verwood made the early running and forced two corners in the first five minutes which came to nothing. Verwood's first real chance came on 7 minutes when a superb through ball from Delaney found Satterley in space but as he moved into the Stockbridge penalty box he fired his shot wide.

The home team responded and a good run down the right wing resulting in a dangerous cutback but Gajic was there to snuff out the danger at the expense of a corner. On 11 minutes a free kick was floated into the box by Delaney but Haskell's header went just wide. 15 minutes and Haskell received the ball in the box close to the by-line and his first time cross was headed out by the defender for a corner. The resultant set piece saw another Haskell header back towards the far post but Satterley couldn't quite apply the finishing touch. Halfway through the first half Verwood were controlling the game but clear cut chances were proving hard to come by, the best so far came when Kelly's header from a free kick came back off the post. On 26 minutes another free kick from Homer was floated in but Haskell who was winning most of the aerial battles with his opponent still couldn't get his header on target.

The home team were trying to lift their game but with Wrixton winning a lot of the ball in the middle of the park and Verwood's back four proving dominant Lynch had had little to do in the visitor's goal. He had to be alert though on the half hour as a he came out of his box to clear a threatening through ball. Straight up the other end and Homer who was beginning to torment the full back got to the by-line and pulled the ball back but the keeper cut out the danger. End to end stuff reigned for a few minutes as the tall Stockbridge winger who was giving us the most problem got the better of Anderton but shot wide from a good position. On 36 minutes we thought we had broken the deadlock when Haskell cleverly flicked the ball into Homer's path and his shot from 15 yards was too good for the keeper but the linesman flagged for offside and our frustration grew a little. On the stroke of half time Satterley did well to win the ball by the corner flag and set up Dyer who shot over from the edge of the box .


Verwood came out for the second half and looked much more lively in and around the opponents box. A corner was forced in the first couple of minutes and Homer's kick was met by Gajic's header from 8 yards which was too powerful for the keeper to stop and relief was evident all round as we had broken the deadlock. 0-1

It seemed to spur us on and rather than sit back we went looking for more. On 49 minutes Haskell curled a low shot which was destined for the bottom corner but somehow the keeper got a hand to the ball to keep it out, it fell at Gajic's feet but his goalbound shot was blocked by a desperate defender. On 56 minutes Dyer's cross from the right eluded all the attempts of the defenders to clear and the ball fell invitingly for Homer at the far post who made no mistake from 6 yards. 0-2

On the hour mark an underhit back pass by a home defender put the goalie in trouble and Haskell's genuine attempt to block his clearance resulted in a yellow card which seemed somewhat harsh. Stockbridge seemed to rally for a short period and a striker was given too much time and hit the post from close range when it appeared easier to score. From the following scramble a goalbound shot was well tipped over by the reliable Lynch who proved he had stayed alert having had frankly little to do. A few minutes later the home team had a free kick drilled into our box but Gajic again proved his worth at both ends of the pitch by heading out for a corner. Webb had come on to replace Wrixton and on 69 minutes with Stockbridge pushing forward a Kelly interception found Satterley on the half way line and suddenly it was two-on-two. A galloping Evans who looked like he was limbering up for the 100 metres in the Olympics made it three-on-two and Satterley very intelligently spotted the run and put Evans through and his low cross evaded the keeper and Haskell forced the ball over the line from what must have been all of 18 inches. This was Haskell's 50th goal for the club and his 3rd in three games. 0-3

Verwood were now threatening to score everytime they attacked. On 72 minutes Satterley turned outside the box and hit a belter of a shot that cannoned back off the crossbar with the keeper clutching thin air. Just after this Satterley made way for Dan Rose. With 15 minutes left Haskell and Rose chased down a high through ball. They were giving the defence a real headache but Rose's shot from 10 yards was well saved by an increasingly busy keeper. With the game seemingly in the bag Haskell made way for Dear which saw Homer moved up front. Homer was enjoying the limelight as Verwood continued to press and on 77 minutes his exquisite lob/chip gave the keeper no chance. 0-4

On 80 minutes Rose who was continuing to give Stockbridge a lot of problems set up Gajic whose shot from the edge of the box was blocked by the keepers legs. Shortly after a 25 yard strike from Delaney crashed off the home cross bar. It was difficult to keep up with events as Verwood were laying siege on the Stockbridge goal. A rare break towards our goal forced Anderton to make a last ditch tackle which the referee deemed was a foul. We all held our breath until the official chose a yellow card much to everyone's relief. We hadn't finished attacking, our eleventh corner was half cleared and when the ball was played back in Homer finished off in style clearly delighted with his well deserved hat trick. 0-5

Still we pushed forward and Rose who had done so much in 20 minutes still hadn't finished, he ran on to a through ball down the left and squared for Dyer who had taken up a great position but couldn't find the finishing touch. We'd done enough, the second half produced our best football for quite a while and our fourth consecutive clean sheet and nobody could argue with the result


Report submitted by Steve Jefferis

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